What is a Mentor

change makers mentoring professional development Dec 17, 2023
ASPIRE ME- Mentorship

ASPIRE ME - Mentor Me

Before we rush out to find a mentor, let’s take a few moments to find out what a mentor is first. A mentor is a person who acts as a coach or adviser for a less experienced person or mentee. They offer expertise and knowledge to help the mentee reach a new level of success in either their personal or career life.

A mentor is available to offer advice, answer questions and offer support. Mentors will also protect the interests of their mentees, will often give personal examples to help strengthen the lessons, and a mentor frequently also benefits from acting as a trusted adviser.

Mentees will learn from this relationship often master things they may struggle to learn elsewhere.


Types Of Mentors

As there are different types of trades, there are a wide variety of mentorship models to choose from.

Peer Mentors

A peer mentor is a professional colleague who is always there to advise you.

An example would be someone who may share your role when you start at a new company. They teach you about that job and what is expected. You lean on that person for answers to the many questions you will have.

Peer mentors may offer information about job openings within the company or offer advice on company culture. They may check informally or socially.

Career Mentors:

Career mentors are typically in a higher position professionally and serve as career advocates or guides. They can help you understand where your current career could expand, or progress, they are sometimes your managers but they can also be in different departments. They tend to check in less frequently than peer mentors.

Life Mentors:

Life mentors are often at the senior stages of a career and can be based either within or outside of your current company. Life mentors offer advice during difficult career decisions, such as deciding to leave a job or change careers. They can be a valuable source of confidential and unbiased information.


What makes a great mentor?

A great mentor will prove to be an asset offering resources and tools that may not be readily available due to their experience, access and vantage point.

A great mentor may have some or all of these attributes:

· they show interest in the mentees success

· they are vested in their success

· they are aligned with the mentees best interest

· they focus on helping the mentee become the best they can be

· they complement the mentee

· they are neither afraid of nor threatened by the mentee's successes.


12 Characteristics of a good Mentor

1. Availability. This isn’t so much a characteristic, but it’s an essential step 0. A good mentor needs to be available for their mentee a reasonable amount of time each day or week for the relationship to be helpful.

2. Enthusiasm. A good mentor should enter into their position with enthusiasm. They should be confident and demonstrate a positive outlook at all times, even when commiserating about challenges the mentee is facing.

3. Growth-focused. Great mentors are life-long learners and teachers. A mentor who takes time to thoughtfully research and answer any questions they don’t immediately know the answer to is exceptionally valuable because they’re willing to grow alongside you rather than assume a position of superiority.

4. Active listening. A mentor should take time to understand the needs of the person they’re mentoring. Asking thoughtful questions and being curious about your challenges are great characteristics for a mentor to possess.

5. Giving feedback. Communication skills are a must for a good mentor, and it’s especially essential to provide thorough and actionable feedback as the relationship develops. Good mentors know how to couch their constructive criticism in positive language so that their mentee feels encouraged, not hopeless.

6. Expert in the field. Mentors need a whole lot of soft skills to succeed in their role, but they also need expertise in the knowledge you hope to gain. If you want to succeed in marketing, an accountant probably doesn’t have much to offer you, regardless of if they possess good qualities of a mentor.

7. Honesty and integrity. Great mentors aren’t just exceptional at their jobs — they’re well-respected for their ethics as well. They keep promises, hold themselves accountable, and don’t take or encourage shady shortcuts that are unprofessional or underhanded.

8. Adaptability. A good mentor will be upfront that the advice they give won’t work for every situation. Rather than show you one way of doing things, they’ll explain their approach to various problems and situations They won’t give you a fish — they’ll teach you how to fish, as the parable goes..

9. Networking skills. Mentors are great, but nobody knows everything. Really special mentors know how to network not just for themselves, but also for their mentees. They’ll put you in touch with people who have the knowledge you seek but they don’t feel confident teaching.

10.Positivity. A mentor who speaks negatively about the field or people at the company is not a great role model.

11.Model behavior. For a mentor to have credibility, they have to do more than just tell their mentee how to be and what to do — they have to live those things as well. If you get a mentor who tells you one thing but does another, that’s not a good sign.

12.Good fit for mentee. Ultimately, a mentor-mentee relationship is just like any other in that personal chemistry is vital. You could be the most enthusiastic student and your mentor could be an industry expert who achieved the exact career you’d like for yourself. It doesn’t matter one bit if your personalities clash.


Mentor expectations

ASPIRE Change Management seeks mentors that have at least five years of professional business experience. We require a minimum of four hours in-person (in person or virtually) with one mentee over the course of the ASPIRE ME cycle.

As an ASPIRE Me Mentor, your role is to challenge, inspire, encourage and support your mentee to achieve their goals around their career development.

How can a Mentor benefit me?

  • Mentors can coach. Today’s workforce requires us to work smarter rather than harder. A mentor can give us valuable insights into becoming smarter about people, relationships, processes, opportunities and strategies. A mentor’s wise counsel will help us become smarter.
  • Mentors can motivate us by fine-tuning and transforming our vision. They can offer wisdom, ideas, thoughts and they can challenge us to see a bigger picture, have bigger dreams. They prop us up and we must never abuse this as it will eventually open doors to opportunities beyond our current circle.
  • Mentors challenge us and push us to go where we have never been. They don’t let you settle, they keep pushing until you achieve what you thought you couldn’t. They will pat you on the back for your successes and they will teach you to look for the lessons in your failures. Above all, they won’t let you give up.
  • Mentors protect you from missteps. They won’t let you leave the nest until you are ready to fly. Mentors can provide insights on navigating political landmines within organizations, offer advice on how to make sound business decisions and help prevent missteps that could derail your success.
  • Mentors share life lessons. They use the experiences and personal lessons they learned to demonstrate the lessons or ideas they are trying to teach. They use examples from their own life to paint a picture of what is possible. They never give up on you. They never stop believing in you, encouraging you, and investing in you. They assume your vision until it becomes a reality.


How to be a great mentee?

Mentor-mentee relationships are as different as the individuals that enter into these relationships. You put forth the effort to find a great mentor so it is important to get the most out of that mentorship.

Here are a few strategies that will help:

Show interest and be engaged. Without question, this is one of the best ways to be a good mentee. Ask them about their career and how they got to where they are. Shown a genuine interest in how they succeeded, after all, you want the same results right? You don’t need to take every suggestion but do carefully consider every piece of advice they offer.

2. Be an active participant in the relationship. By choosing to follow their advice you will demonstrate that you value the relationship. It also shows you are serious about your career or personal goals and are taking this personal development seriously. This will make them more interested in guiding you.

3. Be sure to practice not only taking advice but applying it. Willingly accept both constructive criticism and positive feedback. Getting honest feedback from a more advanced professional is extremely beneficial and will benefit you by teaching you the areas you most need to develop further and improve upon. It can also teach you some of your strengths that maybe you didn’t realize were strengths

4. Always be respectful of your mentor’s time. Bring specific questions or topics to discuss at your meetings and don’t reach out more than necessary. Be sure to express respect and gratitude for your mentor and the time they are investing in your success.


Ready to take your career to the next level with a Change Mentor?